Two is First to 1,000

The Air Force’s second F-35A strike fighter, AF-2, became the first F-35 airplane to reach 1,000 flight hours, said officials at Edwards AFB, Calif. Lockheed Martin test pilot Paul Hattendorf was flying AF-2 on June 11, when the aircraft reached the milestone, according to Edwards’ June 19 release. “AF-2’s nickname is workhorse,” said Randy Thompson, government air vehicle lead for the F-35 Integrated Test Force. “It continues to carry the flight sciences testing load, executing its primary mission of loads envelope expansion,” he said. Among the benefits, flight sciences testing helps engineers determine the aircraft’s service life more accurately, states the release. AF-2 arrived at Edwards in May 2010. It carries specific instrumentation for airframe buffet testing, landing, braking, and arresting hook testing, and ground and in-flight gun testing, according to the release. (Edwards report by Kenji Thuloweit)